Is it just me, or are so-called mom jeans the biggest fashion no-no in America? Perhaps shoulder pads come in second, but who wears those anymore? Mom jeans, on the other hand, survive despite the criticism they’ve received from Oprah’s fashion gurus and the fancy-pants duo on What Not to Wear. They’re a fashion cockroach—they will survive us all. If mom jeans are so god-awful and unflattering, why do women continue to wear them?
I’d dismissed moms who sport the mom-jean look as clueless, until I bought a pair by accident. I have a rule when it comes to buying jeans: I never buy them new. In Chicago, I have a vast quantity of thrift shops to choose from where I can get designer jeans for around $6. Why anyone spends $200 on denim is beyond me. Last weekend, I was at a thrift store and picked up a pair of Calvin Kleins for $4.50. Pretty good find, I thought, until I got them home. In front of a mirror, under better lighting, and on my body, I discovered that these were in fact the dreaded jean of mothers. They are a slightly uncool tint of blue—you know, a little too pastel. The waistline is actually around my waist, they make my hips look like I swallowed a navy ship sideways, and they’re, god forbid, tapered at the ankle!
I decided, as charity thrift shops have a no-return policy and the kids couldn’t care less what I’m wearing, that I’d keep the jeans; I’d just never wear them out of the house. My first day in these jeans was actually pleasant. They’re comfortable and have additional bonuses: My butt crack never peeks out to say “hi,” the triple ripple that I developed after the birth of my son stays neatly in place beneath the waist band, and I don’t walk on the cuffs like I do with my usual boot-length jeans. I changed my mind about leaving the house and figured they would come in handy at the grocery store, where my son loves to restock the fruit the minute I turn my back. I’d be able to bend down to pick up fallen lemons without showing off my granny panties!
See, the thing is, moms spend a great deal of time bending over to pick up toys, dropped pacifiers, and flung bits of food. We spend more time on our knees than … you fill in your own joke. My mom jeans keep me covered, everywhere. I don’t care if they get splattered with finger paint or cheese. It’s just not practical to wear cool high-heeled boots every day so I don’t need the cool boot-cut jeans to match.
The moral of the story is, don’t knock the mom who’s out running errands in her unhip jeans. She’s not clueless, she’s practical. If you’re a fashionista who swears never to end up like me when you spawn, just wait until your darling smears your designer pants with chewed-up goldfish crackers. Those mom jeans will be looking pretty good, and they’re available for $4.50 at your local thrift store if you act now!
I hope my plumber reads this, as he could use a pair of mom jeans himself.